back to article UK military faces spectrum sell off

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) may sell off some of its reserved radio spectrum, potentially for large sums. Guidelines for sale of military frequencies are being drawn up by the communications regulator, Ofcom. “Public bodies and the MoD in particular hold some of the most valuable and sought-after radio spectrum," said …


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  1. Gulfie

    Ambition over-estimate...

    Is this a post-QinetiQ-bargain-basement-sell-off bullish estimate of the value of the MOD's spectrum?

    Who is going to buy, and what services are they going to push out? I think you'll find that companies haven't forgotten how the 3G auction went... and we're only just starting to see non-voice services marketed in a way that is actually affordable (yes, I'd pay £10 a month for mobile broadband)

    Add in a slowdown in the economy and the potential for a recession and the chances of getting even half of the estimated figure is, IMHO, rather low.

  2. Christoph
    Thumb Down

    If it's not needed, return it.

    They were given vast amounts of spectrum that other people could have used, free of charge, because they needed it to defend the nation.

    If they don't need it any more it should be handed back. Why should they be able to sell it?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    et maketh no senth

    "desirable sub-15GHz range, with the MoD accounting for three-quarters of this (or about a third overall). "

    So, you're saying that the spectrum stops at about 33.75GHz?

    Can you tell that to every one that uses frequencies above that? I admit that it's hard to get any meaningful comms over any kind of range at such high frequencies, but there are uses.

    @Christoph; if I GAVE you something of commercial value, and you later decided that you didn't need it any more, would you want to just give it back to me, or would you choose to sell it?

    I think the real question is "why shouldn't they be able to sell it?"

    What's the betting that they reserve one of the really high frequencies to use as a form of microwave gun, mounted to a boeing plane, able to fry eggs (and 'terrists') from 12000 ft?

  4. MarmiteToast


    It was given to them by a government body (FCC equivalent?) and so they'll give it back to them. It's not like they're going to had them £15Bn to buy shiny new tanks and such.

    It'll be the government that sells it and the money will go to plug all black holes in the budget that are last chancellors have seen fit to create.

  5. Dave

    spectrum stops at ~33MHz?

    short answwer: yes (uses get quite esoteric - like measuring wind profiles using 'scatterometers')

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Great - another great sell off - just what we need

    As with all of these things - the MOD will sell it off and then rent it back at a huge loss. When will the governement learn that some state assets should be held onto. Selling off the railways was supposed to encourage competition but all that happened was price rises for the end user. Ditto water. Ditto gas and elec. The government is effectively surrendering a state asset that in the long run will cost us all more. What are the chances that they find a way of offloading it at a pathetically low price and getting sod all for a very valuable asset. Just like the gold.

  7. Zargof

    While they're at it...

    Last time I checked MoD had the whole of the 25.x.x.x IP subnet. I would guess that a class A would be worth a few quid these days...

  8. Alex


    About time they updated their spectrums, those Sinclair machines are almost old hat nowadays.

  9. Heinz

    MOD spectrum

    Reminds me of the trouble we had getting a few megs back for a government-sponsored use (Airwave).

  10. Nigee


    Er, aren't there NATO agreements about spectrum? I'd have though that MoD can only relinquish spectrum that is not to allocated for military purposes under its treaty obligations. Ie UK armed forces may not use it but allied ones do, including in/over/adjacent to UK and its territories.

  11. Tim Wesson

    Another Tax, People!

    That's your money burning. The government spectrum auction is them taking a monopsony slice of phone call charges. Their extracted rent means that mobile calls will remain high indefinately, and we won't know the difference.

    Cuning sods.

  12. Edward Hull

    out of date but worth looking aat for a graphic overview...

    @Nigee: the organisation you are thinking of is probably the ITU, yes there are international agreements on how some of the spectrum shall be used, yes countries are allowed to vary it on their local soil.

    in the end, mil/gov will probably keep primary user status, allowing for secondary users on spectrum that they are not currently using.

    Why did the military grab lots to begin with? because when they had the oportunity to grab, nobody knew which bits of it would be god for what so the mil grabbed lots to be sure it wold have the bits it needed for effective operations. we have a lot better idea (but far from perfect) of the potential uses of different areas or the spectrum now.

  13. andy gibson

    When I read the title

    I expected a report of them listing their rubber keyed Sinclair Spectrum's on Ebay.

  14. Tom Oliva

    The Air we Breathe Next - on easy PAYG terms

    I almost despair - but that doesn't quite fit, selling off the sky... yeah , right as if we actually need more dishonest predatory corporates providing wireless "services" - if they thought they could sell the air we breathe I'm sure some grasping pen pusher with one eye to "retirement" in the corporate sector would try - the can of "Perriair" in the Mel Brookes' "SpaceBalls" comes to mind.

    Give it to Google I say - that'd cause some splutterings in boardrooms

    It's only a thought - but how far up - does the government reckon to own electromagnetic radiation?

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